Opponents of the Pierce Transit measure all but declared success Wednesday, as the measure was failing by 708 votes and only about 751 ballots remained to be counted in the county.
Only some of those ballots are from voters within Pierce Transit’s boundaries and include Proposition 1.
Nick Sherwood with Reject Proposition 1 said opponents would continue calling likely “reject” voters whose ballot signatures couldn’t be verified, but expected the measure to fail.
“We have to do our due diligence, but other than that, the result will be a victory,” Sherwood said.
The measure was failing 50.18 percent to 49.82 percent, with 100,553 votes rejecting and 99,845 votes approving it.
A Wednesday statement from Restore Transit Now, the campaign supporting the proposition, also said it didn’t appear there would be enough votes to approve the measure.
Proposition 1 would have raised sales tax within Pierce Transit’s boundaries by three-tenths of 1 percent. That would have brought Tacoma’s tax to 9.8 percent.
Opponents said that would drive business out of the county, and argued that Pierce Transit should go further to reduce employee costs.
Agency officials said the funding was needed to recover from the hit its sales tax collections took in the recession. Without it, Pierce Transit leaders say, weekend service and bus service after 7 p.m. will be cut. Disability service also is set to be reduced.
Pierce Transit’s board will have to approve the changes and set a timeline, but failure of the measure means work begins to cut service hours from 419,000 to 197,000 by spring 2014.
“Unfortunately a rejection means an uncertain future for many of our neighbors with no other transportation options; access to jobs for low-income individuals, health care for people with disabilities, and schools for students,” Restore Transit Now said in the statement.
Supporters will wait to decide whether to request a recount until all votes are tallied, said Kate Whiting with the campaign.
“If it stays where it is, probably not,” she said.
Automatic recount rules for candidate races don’t apply to ballot measures, Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson said.
A recount would cost up to about $200,000, she said, which would be funded by the side requesting it.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268